In July 2014,
man did not yet know the dangers of backing just any random
Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign, and
swimming in childlike naivety and blind optimism over
2500 people backed Jibo.
A social robot companion that the creators, Jibo Inc,
promised would do everything from making video calls to reading bedtime stories.
And this was long before the Google assistant or Amazon echo existed.
Now, for my part,
it was pretty obvious that Jibo
was too ambitious to be anything but an enormous belly flop onto a bed of hot coals.
But coming off of the success of my then recent flaying of the Brunton Hydrogen Reactor,
I was looking for a way to up the ante. I was looking for something even dumber to roast,
so I bought one.
Three and a half years later...
My very own Jibo finally showed up.
Was it worth the wait?
Was it worth nine hundred US dollars?
Of course not. Don't be a Jibo.
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Hey Jibo... Return to sender!
Looks-wise Jibo is kind of like the illegitimate love child of Pixar's Luxo Jr.
And Eva from Wall-E He, and Jibo is a HE,
stands 11 inches tall, (27.94 Centimeters) with a glossy plastic finish on a body that is essentially a stack of
rotating blocks that allows him to move with, "Hey Jibo, spin around."
"Don't mind if I do." ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
This is something that the team there did really well, and as you can see his movements are fluid,
nearly silent, and made even more lifelike by his awareness of his environment.
(snapping a dozen times)
Jibo is equipped with six microphones that he uses to orient his face toward you when you speak to him.
And we've even seen him turn towards the sound of an opening door to see who entered the room with the two cameras at the
top of his face. One of them is for taking photos, and the other is for depth perception and facial recognition.
Yes. Facial recognition!
Jibo can be trained to recognize up to 15 people,
casually including their names in his responses, wishing them Happy Birthday or
randomly interrupting their lives to rattle off a fun little fact.
Sometimes it really does feel like he's looking at you!
which makes it all the more troubling that there is no way to disable his microphones or
cameras other than just shutting him down.
Which you do by scrolling to the settings on the touchscreen portion of his face,
that tragically isn't OLED, giving it a gray glow that leads many people to see his face as:
- Two beady little eyes, and a giant mouth, rather than as a single darting and blinking eyeball. - IMMA FIRIN MAH LAZAH! BAAAH!
One surprising feature is that he has an onboard battery so you or the kids can
unplug him and plop him down wherever you might need him. Nice! ( ͡°ꔢ ͡°)
Okay, but what could you actually need your,
chubby robo buddy for?
Well, compared to other smart speakers like Google home and Amazon echo,
Jibo can't play a YouTube video, or a song from Spotify,
he can't record a video or audio clip, he can't read you a bedtime story,
he can't sing you a lullaby, he doesn't support personal calendars,
and if you tell him: "Hey Jibo: Repeat after me or to execute your last command again."
(Jibo): Umm...I can't remember what I just said. My short-term memory will get better in the future though.
Ok then. I mean, at least it can answer the kinds of questions we used to love firing at Siri back in
2011, right? What's the weather outside,
how far away is the moon? (Jibo): The distance from the Earth to the Moon is about three hundred seventy four thousand six...
Things like that?
Uhh.. Well, yes and no.
Jibo has limited resources for finding answers to your skill testing questions including Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha.
So that's good, but also Bing.
He doesn't always get the answers right. Hey, Jibo, who is the president?
*Le waiting again*
President is it common titled for the head of state and most Republics.
Hey Jibo, who is the president of the United States of America?
*Le waiting once more*
The President of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America.
"WRONG!" - Donald Trump (Billionaire and President) 2016
Speaking of things Jibo can do but can't do well.
Unlike Google home,
which offers a laundry list of news recordings from major publications, Jibo only offers news from The Associated Press.
Which might even be passable if he didn't read it out in his own voice.
According to the Associated Press...
*OMG Le Waiting!*
Japan's U.N. ambassador,
Koro Bessho, says the international community must keep the pressure up so...
No one wants to listen to a talking computer for more than like two
Speaking of speaking, I've got kind of mixed feelings about Jibo's voice. The sound is more robotic than most of his competitors,
but his tone and inflections are
sometimes industry-leading in there naturalness, though
this is usually only the case when he's giving you a canned answer, bringing us then to Jibo's personality,
which somehow seems to match his physical form
pretty much perfectly. He's quirkier than the more pragmatic assistants that we're used to. Hey Jibo, what's your favorite book?
I really love instruction manuals. There are so many, it's hard to choose one favorite.
And I wished him a good morning after 12 o'clock once, and he replied, sure, I guess it's morning somewhere.
I may be wrong, but I don't think it's morning.
But he still doesn't feel like a social companion because even though he sometimes
looks at me while I'm sitting at my desk and
recognizes my face and even says hello to me before I say anything,
he doesn't listen for my response or carry out even the most rudimentary
conversations. He only responds to commands.
So he's the most animated,
lifelike robot, we've seen yet, and yes, I'm including those creepy, uncanny valley bots like Sophie, but the fact is...
Although somehow Time missed this..
he's almost completely
Useless! Especially when you consider the pitch from the original crowdfunding video.
I mean, yes, he does have
some smart-home functionality, thanks to if this then that integration...
but it's very basic, and
yes, in theory, his abilities could expand with over-the-air updates and a developer SDK
that's coming out in the new year.
But honestly, what kind of developers would be
stupid enough to invest their time in a platform with such a small user base when there are an estimated 20 million
Amazon echo devices out there with A-L-E-X-A (ALEXA)
Realistically, it was a good idea. The world is headed towards digital assistance in a big way.
But Jibo Inc tried to do too much with too little
and their only hope for a return on the last few years of their lives at this point is to be bought out by one of
the BIG GUYS.
Just like my only hope for a return on this stupid purchase is to have the whole team here sign it
and put it on eBay in hopes that one of you out there is an avid collector of ridiculous crowdfunding rubbish.
Never gets old.
All right, without any ado...
(EDM music playing)
Man! If I was gonna throw away $900 three years ago, I really wish I had bet on Bitcoin.
On the subject of things that aren't as much of a waste of money as this thing,
Corsair's refreshed line up of Void gaming headsets. The Void pro features microfiber mesh fabric and memory foam ear cups,
great build quality with metal structural components, and glass fiber infused plastics,
50 millimeter neodymium drivers with Dolby headphone 7.1. Surround sound,
a unidirectional microphone that cancels ambient noise so you can talk strategically with clarity, and a bunch of different interfaces.
They've got the special edition, the wireless, the USB, and the surround vision. Check them out now at the links below to either Amazon or
So thanks for watching, guys. If this video sucked,
you know what to do,
but if it was awesome, get subscribed, hit that like button, or check out the link to where to buy the stuff we
featured in the video description. Actually, we will have an eBay link down there. I wasn't joking.
Also link down there's our merch store, which has cool shirts like..
My shirt, not this one.
This, this is going to be some-- some limited edition stuff right here. Not a lot of people will own these.
Oh yeah, and there's a link to our community forum, which you should totally join.